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Sprinter feels blessed after recovery from broken back

  • Written by Derek Johnson

Change can come to our lives in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye — and often when least expected. Such was the case for Woodinville’s Morgan Davis in September 2012. One day, the sophomore was standing in a school hallway chatting with friends, when suddenly she was buried beneath a heap of humanity while gasping from sharp pain in her lower back.

“I was dog piled by three boys and I was crushed beneath several hundred pounds,” Davis said. “I got pulled down and jumped on. It wasn’t malicious in any shape or form, it was just an unfortunate event. When they jumped on me, I immediately knew [my back] was hurt. It was hard to sit in a chair in school that day. Unfortunately, I also had a soccer game that same day, and I pushed through it and played.”

DavisWoodinville’s Morgan Davis shows her dominant form after a frightful injury. (Courtesy photo)After three months of physical therapy made things worse, a CT scan and MRI were conducted. They revealed that she’d suffered two compression fractures in her L3 and L4 vertebrae, as well as a crushed disc that was protruding out between those vertebrae. The doctor told her this type of injury usually came from plane crashes or long falls. No, this was going to take some time to heal.

For Davis this was especially tough to hear, since she’s so active in sports. As a member of Woodinville’s varsity track team and junior varsity track team, this all seemed too dismal.

“At the moment I got fitted for the cast, it set in that, ‘okay this is life now and you’ve got to deal with it,’” Davis said. “The most difficult part was realizing that I couldn’t play sports for months and months. But sports are my whole life. So that was really hard. Once I realized that it is a permanent injury for the rest of my life, I knew that I had to cope with it. I knew I had stick my head down and go for it. Beat the odds.”

She lost a year of club soccer and the 2013 track and field season came and went. All the while, she went to rehab. New stretches strengthened her core, and after five or six months, she could sit more comfortably and walk for longer periods of time.

“Everything in the body is connected,” Davis said. “Once I realized that my legs were strong, my core was strong, my back was strong, everything began working together and I felt better.”

This past winter, Davis began training again for track. By late April, Woodinville hosted its first meet of the season in the form of a jamboree. Davis ran an unofficial event called the 300 meters.

“I ran it in 43.3 [seconds],” she said. “I broke down in tears, I was so happy. I was thankful that I recovered and was able to participate in the sport I love again — and that I did it well.”

Davis 2Woodinville’s Morgan Davis endeavored to keep a positive attitude during the long rehabilitation process. (Courtesy photo)As her junior season purred along, Davis broke into the top 10 listings in the Woodinville record book for six different events.

Heading into this summer, Davis still has days where she gets sore. But she’s keeping her core in shape and remains ever vigilant in listening to her back for when it needs a rest.

She reveals no rancor toward the boys who injured her. “They are sweet about it. They’re remorseful. They’ve apologized and ask me how I’m doing. They’re very kind about it.”

Looking to the future, Davis is focused on her senior season, and her dreams of Junior Olympics and college scholarships. But what assessment does she make of these past 21 months?

“It’s amazing to think back to what happened and how far I’ve come,” she said. “And everyone who supported me, and all the hours that everybody helped me. I feel completely blessed.”

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